Today I bring you a short description of Hong Kong as it was in the 1880s.  This is from a personal copy of “Peeps into China” by E.C. Phillips

 The first view of Hong Kong was a chain of mountains rising in the background to lofty peaks and diminishing as they approached the sea into small hills and steep rocks.  The town of Victoria was built along the sea-coast and there were large European club-houses and the Cathedral.  One of the principal ornaments in town was the clock tower which made even high trees look quite small.  The most ancient houses of the colony could be found in a street that led to the clock tower and close by was the hotel where tiffin could be taken.

 Here is an extract from a letter written at the time:

“Steamers were always either coming or going; and here too telegrams were constantly arriving.  Besides English merchants, Chinese, American French, German, Hindoo merchants and others also traded with the little island and shared what wealth she had.  Hong Kong is very English looking compared with other places in China and the people are not only governed by English laws but their crimes are tried by English judges.  It is only because Hong Kong belongs to the English that telegraph wires are to be found here as the Chinese will not have them anywhere else because they think that they would offend the ghosts or spirits of the places through which they would pass.  For the same reason also the Chinese have hardly any railroads.”

I wonder what they would think of Hong Kong in the 21st century.  The traders and merchants of all nationalities are still there.  The Cathedral is still there.  But that clock tower which seemed so tall in the 1800s would now be dwarfed by science fiction like skyscrapers !!

If your family history has revealed links to Hong Kong and to Colonial Ancestors then remember that I am here to help.

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